June 17, 1998

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The banks of the Olentangy River are overflowing with optimism in Columbus, Ohio this summer, and for the first time in years it’s not just surrounding the gridiron. The Ohio State hockey team returns eighteen letterwinners and loses only four from last year’s NCAA Final Four team. A sure contender for the CCHA championship, the Buckeyes also are in the midst of packing their bags for a move into the premier collegiate hockey facility in the nation – the Jerome Schottenstein Center.

A Center of Attention

The Jerome Schottenstein Center, home to the Ohio State hockey team as well as the OSU men’s and women’s basketball teams, will open its doors for the first time this season. The $94 million, state-of-the-art sports and entertainment complex will serve as a prominent and fitting gateway to the Ohio State University Campus.

Integrated into the campus architecturally, the Center contains three tiers of seating and contains more luxury suites than any other university arena. It is by far the largest collegiate hockey facility in the nation, and is larger than nearly 40 percent of the arenas currently used in the National Hockey League. The Ohio State athletic department is also committed to hosting NCAA Hockey Regional games as well as Final Fours.

Construction on the Jerome Schottenstein Center is nearing completion. Once the facility is completed, however, builders are forced to allow the concrete foundation cure for 30 days before laying down an ice surface. Tentatively, Ohio State’s first game in the Center will be a Jan. 2 contest against arch-rival and defending national champion Michigan.

Awards Candidates

1997-98 All-American Hugo Boisvert is Ohio State’s first legitimate Hobey Baker Memorial Award candidate since Paul Pooley in 1984. Joining Boisvert as an All-America candidate this season is Jeff Maund. Along with Boisvert and Maund, Chris Richards, Eric Meloche and Andre Signoretti enter the 1998-99 season as OSU’s all-CCHA candidates.

Who’s Back

Nearly everyone. Six of the team’s top seven scorers, four of the six defensemen, and both goalies. First team All-American Hugo Boisvert (23-35-58) returns to anchor Ohio State’s all-Quebec first line. He’s joined by Eric Meloche (26-22-48) and Jean-Francois Dufour (10-16-26). The OSU coaching staff is counting on a breakthrough year from Dufour, similar to the one Meloche had last season. Boisvert is set to make a run at Ohio State’s first-ever Hobey Baker Award this year. If minutes played were a determining factor, he might be the favorite. Playing key roles on the power-play and penalty-killing units, Boisvert seems to be on the ice for every other shift.

Chris Richards (22-30-52), the CCHA’s third-leading scorer last year, returns for his final season as a Buckeye. Richards was one of seven players from the western leagues (WCHA, CCHA) to top the 50-point barrier, but the only one in the group not to land on a first or second all-conference team. He’ll be counted on to score as well as challenge for the CCHA’s Best Defensive Forward award.

Dan Cousineau (7-19-26) returns this year after being granted a medical redshirt for the 1995-96 season he missed with mononucleosis. Cousineau is the definition of versatility with the ability to play either wing or defense and do either one exceptionally well. Cousineau and Richards have developed a bit of chemistry during their careers at Ohio State that will most likely land them on the same line again this year.

Neal Rech (6-2-8), winner of the team’s Most Improved Award last year, enters this season as one of the team’s top penalty killers.

Sophomore Vinnie Grant (3-8-11) was rolling last year before suffering a broken radius and missing well over a month. The coaching staff expects him to continue developing into the offensive threat he was two years ago in junior hockey (34-63-97 with Smith Falls in COJHL).

Louie Colsant (5-3-8), a pure goal scorer that showed signs of emerging very late in the season, has plans on challenging for an everyday spot on the OSU line chart.

Jason Selleke (6-5-11), one of the team’s top skaters and more physical players, will see time on the penalty killing unit and will have to develop into more of an offensive threat.

Ohio State relied on five defensemen for most of last season, and three of those five – Andre Signoretti, Ryan Skaleski, and Ryan Jestadt – return for the 1998-99 season. Signoretti (5-20-25, +20) is a smooth skater that handles the puck extremely well and was an honorable mention CCHA all-rookie team selection last year.

Signoretti scored perhaps the biggest goal in Ohio State history on March 23 of last year – an overtime slapshot past Chad Alban that gave Ohio State a 4-3 win over Michigan State and sent the Buckeyes to the NCAA Final Four. Ryan Skaleski (1-3-4, +21), winner of Ohio State’s Best Defenseman Award last year, uses his size (6-3, 215) well and could develop into one of the premier stay-at-home defenders in the league. Jestadt (1-14-15) has all the physical tools – size (6-2, 195), quickness, skating ability – and needs to develop into a better decision maker.

With the departure of longtime netminders Alban and Marty Turco of Michigan, OSU’s Jeff Maund enters this season as one of the premier returning goalies in the country. His gutty performance in the CCHA and NCAA postseason made the entire college hockey community do a double-take. Dubbed as simply “amazing” by ESPN’s Steve Levy, Maund finished the year tied for second in the nation in save percentage (.922) and eighth in the nation in goals against average (2.36). In a backup role last season, OSU junior Ray Aho (2.31 GAA, .909 sv. pct.) proved that he would be the starter at several schools. With a grueling 38-game schedule and over 16,000 miles of travel, Aho will unquestionably get his chance to shine.

Who’s Gone

Four lettermen, all of whom played at least 38 games last season. Todd Compeau fueled Ohio State in the playoffs with nine points (5-4) in seven games and was second on the team in the postseason with a +9 rating. Defenseman Ryan Root, who recently earned his degree in accounting, played his best seven games of the year in the playoffs and led Ohio State with a +11 rating in those games. Captain Taj Schaffnit, a big, stay-at-home defender, and Tyler McMillan, a key role player and excellent penalty killer, are also both lost to graduation. The key component that this group filled on last year’s squad was experience. Together, the group played in 497 games during their four-year careers.

Who’s New

Big-time, immediate impact players. Ohio State’s recruiting class was highlighted in USA Today and is, by many people’s account, one of the elite classes in the country. Defenseman Jason Crain (6-3, 190; Natrona Heights, Pa.) has excellent skating ability and handles the puck well. He was rated the 14th best player out of 450 available for the Major Junior Draft by the OHL Scouting Bureau.

Center/wing Mike McCormick (5-11, 180; Peterborough, Ont.) has been described as an “elite level skater” and has as much or more speed as any incoming freshman in the country. Yan Desgagne (6-3, 195; St. Therese, Que.), who played junior hockey in the hometown as head coach John Markell and current Buckeye Chris Richards, is another exceptional skater who offers OSU some size at a wing position.

Scott Titus (5-10, 185; East Grand Rapids, Mich.) spent last season with the USA Under-17 team and gives Ohio State a much needed ingredient that at times lacked last season – a physical, aggressive, in-your-face defenseman.

The darkhorse of the 1998-99 freshman class may be forward Ryan Smith (6-0, 195; Carmel, Ind.). After missing most of last season with a stomach muscle injury, his abilities went unnoticed by several other schools. He underwent four months of rehabilitation and is now skating without pain. He has solid skating ability and great individual skills. Smith’s father, Todd, was an All-American diver at Ohio State from 1969-72 and a roommate of current OSU diving coach Vince Panzano.

Matt Weber (6-1, 205; Binghamton, N.Y.) will give the Buckeyes a big man with the ability to play both defense and forward. Jeff Marshall (6-0, 185; Newmarket, Ont.) is a good skating, agile defenseman that captained his former junior team. With added strength, the OSU coaching staff is confident that he can become an excellent college defenseman. The Opposition

Ohio State translated its 1997-98 success into one of the top notch schedules in the country for the upcoming campaign. The Buckeyes will compete in both the Ice Breaker Invitational and the Mariucci Classic, both hosted by the University of Minnesota. OSU could potentially face five teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season.

In addition to the always-tough 30-game CCHA schedule, the Buckeyes also travel to Cornell and Colgate in mid-January. Ohio State’s non-conference schedule also includes a Friday night match-up against Niagara University in the Buffalo Sabres’ Marine Midland Arena.

Head Coach John Markell

During his four years as head coach at Ohio State, John Markell has known only one direction for his hockey program – straight up. He has increased Ohio State’s number of wins each season. He has helped Ohio State to a higher finish in the CCHA standings each season. Last year he led Ohio State to its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance and then on to a Final Four appearance. But most importantly, he has people talking about Ohio State hockey again.

Markell enters this season with a 51-64-9 overall mark and a 37-48-8 CCHA ledger. He took over as acting head coach at OSU on Feb. 14, 1995 with seven regular season games remaining, and on May 22, 1995, officially became the seventh head coach in the program’s 35-year history.

Markell, 40, graduated from Bowling Green in 1979 and still ranks among the all-time Falcon hockey greats. He went on to play in the National Hockey league for four seasons before joining a team in Germany.

From the Penalty Box to the Press Box

The only three-time captain in the history of Ohio State hockey has been named an assistant coach on Markell’s staff. Steve Brent, who ended his playing career in March of 1997 ranked third on the career penalty minute list at OSU, joins this year’s staff as an assistant coach. A native of Penticton, British Columbia, Brent’s main responsibility will be recruiting and player evaluation. His addition to the coaching staff is aimed at increasing the Ohio State program’s presence in western Canada.

1997-98 Recap

Hard to put into words. One of the biggest turnarounds in collegiate hockey history and one of the biggest surprises in all of major collegiate athletics last season. Ohio State finished 27-13-2 overall, eventually falling in the national semifinal to Boston College in Boston’s FleetCenter. After going 9-10-1 through Jan. 3, Ohio State sizzled in the second half of the year, winning 18 of its last 21 games. The Buckeyes finished 19-10-1 in the CCHA, good for third place and their highest finish in 14 years. OSU hosted and swept Lake Superior in the conference quarterfinals before beating Michigan 4-2 in the semifinals.

The Buckeyes received the No. 4 seed in the NCAA West Regional held in Ann Arbor, and proceeded to blank Yale 4-0 in the first round. Mighty Michigan State awaited OSU in the second round. In what became one of the more memorable games in Ohio State hockey history, the Buckeyes topped the Spartans 4-3 in overtime, thus advancing to the Final Four.

The 27 wins last season were the second most in school history. What makes the figure even more impressive is that Ohio State had averaged just nine wins per year during the 1990’s prior to this season. Markell was named the CCHA Coach of the Year and runner-up for National Coach of the Year. Boisvert became only the second OSU player ever to capture the league scoring crown, and was named a Titan West first team All-American and first team all-CCHA. Maund was named to the league’s all-Rookie team and took home Most Outstanding Player honors in the NCAA West Regional. Meloche and Richards were honorable mention all-CCHA picks, while Signoretti and Dufour were honorable mention all-Rookie team selections.

The 1997-98 Hockey Ohio State Hockey Team . . .

* Earned the school’s first ever NCAA Tournament berth.

* Posted the second most wins (27) in school history and its highest win total in 14 years (1983-84 season).

* Enjoyed its highest finish (third) in the CCHA regular season standings in 14 years (1983-84 season).

* Rattled off the longest unbeaten streak by an OSU team in 14 years (1983-84 season).

* Hosted its first home CCHA playoff series in 14 years (1983-84 season).

* Advanced to Joe Louis Arena for the CCHA quarterfinals for the first time in 11 years.

* Advanced to the CCHA Championship game for the first time in 17 years.

* Knocked off the then No. 1-ranked team in the nation on two seperate occasions.

* Was the last team to beat the Michigan Wolverines, the eventual National Champions.

* Gained its first season sweep of a team (Northern Michigan) in six years (1991-92 season).

* Swept more than two CCHA teams (Northern Michigan, Bowling Green, Ferris State) for the first time in 12 years (1985-86 season).

* Captured its first Ohio Cup in 15 years (1983).

* Boasted its first All-American and first team CCHA pick in 14 years (1984) and its first CCHA Coach of the Year in 15 years (1983).

* Won 18 of its last 21 games.

* Loses only four lettermen for the 1998-99 season.

Largest Collegiate Hockey Facilities

Facility (School) Capacity 1. Jerome Schottenstein Center (Ohio State) 17,500 2. Kohl Center (Wisconsin) 14,385 3. Mariucci Arena (Minnesota) 9,700 4. William D. Mullins Memorial Center (U-Mass Amherst) 8,389 5. Silvio O. Conte Forum (Boston College) 7,884 6. Colorado Springs World Arena (Colorado College) 7,343 7. National Hockey Center (St. Cloud State) 7,000 7. Magness Arena (Denver – 1999) 7,000 9. Yost Ice Arena (Michigan) 6,343 10. Sullivan Arena (Alaska-Anchorage) 6,206

The Jerome Schottenstein Center versus Ten NHL Arenas

Facility (Team) Capacity 1. Jerome Schottenstein Center (Ohio State) 17,500 2. San Jose Arena (San Jose Sharks) 17,190 3. Civic Arena (Pittsburgh Penguins) 17,181 4. Arrowhead Pond (Anaheim Mighty Ducks) 17,174 5. Edmonton Coliseum (Edmonton Oilers) 17,099 6. Reunion Arena (Dallas Stars) 16,924 7. Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (New York Rangers) 16,297 8. McNichols Sports Arena (Colorado Avalanche) 16,061 9. Great Western Forum (Los Angelas Kings) 16,005 10. Maple Leaf Gardens (Toronto Maple Leafs) 15,728 11. Miami Arena (Florida Panthers) 14,703

Buckeye Quick Facts

Location: Columbus, Ohio
Enrollment: 48,278
Founded: 1870
Nickname: Buckeyes
Colors: Scarlet and Gray
Mascot: Brutus Buckeye
Fight Song: Across The Field
Affiliation: NCAA Division I
Conference: CCHA
First Year of Hockey: 1963 (35 yrs.)
All-Time Record: 528-574-72
All-Time Goals For: 5,060
All-Time Goals Against: 5,282
Arena: Jerome Schottenstein Center
Capacity: 17,500
Surface: 200′ x 85′
President: William Kirwan
Alma Mater: Kentuckey, ’61
V.P. for Student Affairs: David Williams Athletic Council Chair: Barbara Snyder

Faculty Representative: Susan Hartman
Athletics Director: Andy Geiger
Alma Mater: Syracuse, ’61
Year at Ohio State: Fifth
Senior Associate Director: Paul Krebs
Alma Mater: Bowling Green, ’78
Year at Ohio State: 14th
Athletic Dept. Phone: (614) 292-7572
Athletic Dept. Fax: (614) 292-0506
Athletic Ticket Office: 1-800-Go-Bucks
University Information: (614) 292-Ohio

Athletic Communications

Director: Gerry Emig
Hockey SID: Dan Jones
SID e-mail:
Office Phone: (614) 292-6861
Home Phone: (614) 424-9022
Office Fax: (614) 292-8547
Office Address: Rm. 124 St. John Arena
410 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Press Box Phone: TBA

1997-98 Record: 27-13-2
1997-98 CCHA Record: 19-10-1
CCHA Finish: 3/11
Final USA Today Ranking: 7th
NCAA Tournament Seed: 4 (West)
Postseason Results:
* CCHA Tournament Runner-Up
* NCAA Final Four Participant
Home Record: 14-5-1
Away Record: 10-6-1
Neutral Record: 3-2-0
Letterman Returning: 18
* Forwards – 12
* Defenseman – 4
* Goalies – 2
Letterman Lost: 4
* Forwards – 2
* Defenseman – 2
Newcomers: 7
* Forwards – 3
* Defense – 4
Key Returnees:
* Hugo Boisvert, Jr., C (23-35-58)
* Chris Richards, Sr., C (22-30-52)
* Eric Meloche, Jr., W (26-22-48)
* Jeff Maund, So., G (2.36, .922)
* Andre Signoretti, So., D (5-20-25)
Key Losses:
* Ryan Root, D (11-13-24, +23)
* Todd Compeau, W (15-12-27)
* Taj Schaffnit, D (1-7-8, +14)
* Tyler McMillan, C (0-7-7)
Key Newcomers:
* Jason Crain, D, 6-3, 190
* Mike McCormick, C/W, 5-11, 180
* Yan Desgagne, W, 6-3, 195
* Scott Titus, D, 5-10, 185

Head Coach: John Markell
Alma Mater: Bowling Green, ’79
Career Record (Yrs.): 51-64-9 (4)
Assistant Coach: Casey Jones
Alma Mater: Cornell, ’90
Year at OSU: Fourth
Assistant Coach: Steve Brent
Alma Mater: Ohio State, ’98
Year at OSU: First
Volunteer Asst. Coach: Bill McKenzie
Alma Mater: Ohio State, ’72
Year at OSU: 19th